Small Changes make big differences part 3 – Authenticity
I never went into business to make money – but I have found that. if I have fun, the money will come. Richard Branson
This is such a powerful trait of high achieving people. How many times on a Monday morning do you say I hate Mondays I don’t want to go to work today?
Rob Yeung says that “Authenticity is the ability to choose activities in life that we genuinely want to do rather than be pushed into tasks and jobs we don’t like. We feel authentic when we engage in pursuits that we do simply because we find them interesting, challenging, or fun. We feel authentic when we happily do an activity without the promise of reward for doing it or punishment for not doing it.
Do you have tasks you start doing which you loose yourself in? These are the tasks which you feel most at peace with. When you are doing these tasks this is when you are been your most authentic.
The more we can align our work to what makes us feel authentic, the more prosperous we will be. Some people just feel totally at peace when they are running a business. Time means nothing to them. The amount of money they are earning is nothing to them, these people are there because they are doing what they love. They build up a business, get it successful and then sell it off they then start a new one work it up and then sell it on to the next great idea.
Too many people put up with the drudgery of their jobs because it pays the bills – but that is hardly the attitude that high achievers adopt. If you desire to succeed, you must do work you enjoy. otherwise you will only ever be a fraction as effective as you could be. To begin the process of moving your career on a better trajectory , work through the following questions:
- In what kind of work situations have you worked harder than you normally do?
- What have been the highlights of your working life? Why?
- What activities do you pursue in your free time when you have no other obligations? Why?
- If you could do different activities on separate days of the week, how would you structure your time?
The biggest thing is to do is find activities that feel like play. If you feel you are playing while you are working and earning a living then you are been authentic.
When you are in the flow, or in the ‘zone’ then you are focused and content. Hours slip by and before you know it the day has passed. Only then are you flooded with glee or gratitude for the intensity of the experience. At its core, flow is about being engrossed. totally absorbed in a task rather than merely having fun. It’s like being in a tunnel, seeing only the task at hand. Research shows that when we experience flow, our self-belief blossoms and we improve at what we are doing.
When we have an experience of flow, we may:
- Feel in control
- Experience a sense of challenge
- Lose track of time
- Feel fully involved
- Want to tell other people about it
Can you think of times when you have felt at least some of these feelings?
Think back over the course of your life and bring to mind occasions when you felt lost in what you were doing. It can be anytime in your life, childhood, work, or leisure.
Then think about
- What skills were you using?
- Who were you with?
- What made the experience special?
Once you have a number of experiences, about 10 is good, what kind of skills crop up the most often? What are the implications for what you should be doing, how should you be spending your time?
Now how many of your peak experiences happened in your current job? If none – not a single one – of your high points has been in your current job, then why are you doing it?
Taking stock of our lives occasionally can be very beneficial. Revisiting our past, our jobs, interests and activities can allow us to see patterns and better career and life decisions in the future. One of the best ways I have done this in the past is by working through a book called “What colour is your Parachute?”. This is a book that is released every year and helps people sort out their careers.
High achievers understand what they are good at and find ways to play to their strengths.
Not everyone finds it easy to work out their talents and a lot of this is because of the school systems we were brought up in. Schools tend to promote a fairly narrow definition of aptitude, which is predominantly focused on the ability to learn and regurgitate information. So a lot of people grow up thinking they have no skills – that they’re stupid or untalented. Fortunately school systems are changing now and more and more successful people never finished school.
There was an article a couple of weeks ago in our local newspapers about a 17 year old student in New Zealand that is making $100,000.00 a year reviewing games and playing games. There is more and more examples around the world now of people that have not finished school succeeding in life and using their talents and skills.
No matter how much you like or dislike your current job, you can find ways to relish it more. You can look at the tasks you do and look at them form a different angle so you can see the value of it and enjoy it more. You can alter the boundaries of the tasks you enjoy and the ones you would rather not do. You can modify your relationships at work to change the way you interact with people. Re-framing your current view of your job can change the way you think about the job completely. For example an insurance administrator at a call centre could think about the job as a way to take the hassle out of the callers’ lives.
Authenticity is the ability to choose activities in life that we genuinely want to do. We feel authentic when we engage in pursuits that we find interesting, challenging, or fun. Bear in mind that even small adjustments to how you spend your time could reap significant benefits.
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This series of blogs uses Rob Yeungs books as reference and contain excerpts from the book.